6 fantastic seals

Seals, sea lions and walruses are all pinnipeds (ooh la la), and despite being in the same family, they can be very different indeed!

1. Bearded seal

152598910_a21fb6291a_z

 

This is the largest true seal, and it lives in the Arctic where it stays warm with its thick blubber and dense water-resistant fur. Unlike other true seals, the bearded seal primarily forages for food buried the sea bed rather than catching surface-dwellling fish.

 

 

2. Hawaiian monk seal

5897220552_036fdc9a7b_z

 

Hawaiian monk seals are endangered and in decline. Their main predators are sharks and killer whales, so to stay safe these seals inhabit shallow coastal water. Males are aggressive and escort their females around so no other males have access to their ladies. Sadly males can accidentally injure or even kill females during mating.

 

 

3. Walrus

6108092299_b286dfe0ef_z

Walruses use their tusks to help them haul out of the icy Arctic ocean. Walruses can sleep on land, but they often sleep completely submerged on the sea bed. Underwater sleep lasts only a few minutes at a time, and by the time the walrus wakes up it has usually risen almost all the way to the surface!

 

 

4. Elephant seal

3185913167_03cd65767e_z

This apex predator migrates south twice a year, once before breeding and once before molting, though females with pups will migrate for a shorter time to keep their pup safe from predators. Elephant seals can be spotted on the Pacific coasts of South and Central America but should not be approached as males are territorial and might attack.

 

 

5. Spotted seal

493217036_b48d47a23d_z

 

Spotted seals have excellent underwater hearing, and are good at picking up specific sounds from background noise. As the ice melts in the Arctic summer, these seals head off into the ocean to feed, then return to frozen solid ground to breed in the winter.

 

 

6. Ribbon seal

5019920865_390c8a96f8_z

 

Ribbon seals are arguably the most distinctive seal species with their banded black and white colouration. These stripes may make it difficult for a hunting predator to detect the seal’s exact shape, helping the seal escape unharmed. Males have more distinctive bands, which suggests that their colouration plays a role in dominance.

 

Animals can take your breath away. Surprise yourself every month with World of Animals for only £3.99, or get a great deal online.

Cover

Images from
www.flickr.com/photos/merula/152598910
www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/5897220552
www.flickr.com/photos/kerrylondon/6108092299
www.flickr.com/photos/lizhaslam/3185913167
www.flickr.com/photos/jomilo75/493217036
www.flickr.com/photos/noaaphotolib/5019920865